Lester Brown's Plan B is subtitled Mobilizing to Save Civilization. To save civilization, he explained, would mean moving it from fossil fuels to clean energy. In another book, Brown said that this effort "will take a massive mobilization - at wartime speed." What would this mean?
Americans are most naturally led by this language to think of the mobilization for World War II. Joe Romm, speaking of the need for industry to switch to clean energy, wrote: "This national (and global) re-industrialization effort would be on the scale of what we did during World War II, except it would last far longer."
How much longer? Although many writers suggest that this transition would take 50 or even 100 years, Romm said:
If humanity gets truly serious about emissions reduction -- and by serious I mean "World War II serious" in both scale and urgency -- we could go to near-zero global emissions in, say, 2 decades and then quickly go carbon negative.
"[W]e need to mobilize like the WW II mobilization," added Ross Gelbspan, "but worldwide and even more thorough." The mobilization must be unprecedented, Brown agrees, "because the entire world has never before been so threatened."